SEALY, Texas (AP) - A Texas couple were arrested after a state inspector found several children locked in a tool shed behind an unlicensed daycare center.
State officials said the children were surrounded by lawn equipment, gasoline and insecticide when they were found Wednesday morning. The children were not injured.
A child welfare inspector had gone there in response to a complaint that an illegal daycare center was being operated at the home.
In all, there were 14 children, ranging in age from 3 months to 5 years, being cared for by the couple, Child Protective Services spokeswoman Gwen Carter said Thursday. The included several in the shed and others hidden in the house or at a home next door.
Austin County District Attorney Travis Koehn said Marietta Patek, 55, was charged with six counts of child endangerment. Her husband, Freddie Patek, 47, faced an evidence tampering charge.
They were supposed to be caring for no more than three children,
Bond was set at $10,000 for each. They have no attorney of record to comment on their behalf, jail officials said Thursday.
Paramedics examined all the children and found they were unharmed. Parents were summoned to pick them up.
"They're the sweetest people," a neighbor, Christalynn Bell,told Houston television station KRIV. "They always think about the children first. That's why right now, it's totally mindboggling."
The case remains under investigation by police and child welfare authorities.
Sealy is about 45 miles west of Houston.
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